By Bruce Davis, Tire Business staff
CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (Oct. 14, 2013) — Hankook Tire Co. Ltd. has selected a site near Clarksville for its first U.S. tire plant, an $800 million investment that should be producing tires by 2016.
Hankook said it picked the site in Tennessee after evaluating hundreds of potential locations throughout the southern U.S., in part because of its central location and access to transportation and to be close to the car assembly plants of many of its OE customers
"This new facility will help Hankook Tire accomplish our plan to establish a production base in all major markets," said Hankook Vice Chairman and CEO Seung Hwa Suh, speaking at a ceremony this morning in Clarksville.
"We will be able to provide our customers, consumers and car makers with high quality tires and industry leading service to meet the demands of the American market."
The 1.5 million-sq.-ft. car and light truck tire plant reportedly will have an expected initial capacity of about 6 million tires annually, with about 1,800 full-time jobs at full capacity. A second-phase build-out will boost capacity to 11 million units a year by 2018, Hankook said.
Hankook Tire will occupy 469 acres in the Clarksville-Montgomery County Corporate Business Park, which it is being offered at no cost, according to news reports of the press conference. The site is near Interstate 24 at Exit 8 and Rossview Road.
Hankook announced the selection at the Wilma Rudolph Event Center in Clarksville in front of a group of more than 2000 assembled local and state officials and media representatives, including Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, who thanked Hankook for its "substantial investment" in the state.
The tire maker expects to break ground before year-end.
Hankook did not say what assistance, financial or otherwise, the state of Tennessee will be contributing to the project.
Clarksville, a city of about 140,000 about 50 miles northwest of Nashville, offers an extensive transportation network including rail, plane and interstate highways as well as regional access to the Mississippi River inland waterway, Hankook said.
Hankook first disclosed plans for a U.S. plant at last year's Specialty Equipment Market Association Show in Las Vegas.